I really liked the way Kenneth Guest ended the book. I thought he outlined the previous chapters just briefly enough and made his conclusions clearly.
At the beginning, Guest described the struggles that a lot of Chinese immigrants went through to get to the United States. He talked about the large amounts of money immigrants owed snakeheads that they spent years under horrible working conditions and oppressive living conditions trying to earn and pay back. He talked about how recently Chinese immigrants got citizenship (way too recently, it should have been longer ago). Then, he focused on the religious institutions and communities within Chinatown.
In Guest’s conclusion, he summarizes that religious institutions and communities in Chinatown provided territory for the immigrants to recreate their previous social conditions (family, friends, congregation, etc.), exchange news and information from China, exchange money, and fight for legalization rights. However, religious institutions and communities also served as forums for stratification wherein discrimination could follow the immigrants and reestablish itself as a pattern in Chinatown. Despite this, many successful communities and institutions have been established whose leaders, like Chen Shufan, Master Lu, and Rev. Liu Yangfen), extended them full circle back to Fuzhou.
I think Guest’s conclusion that the immigration process “engenders a search for meaning” is an interesting one. It seems that is true in any experience where someone is going through something difficult that challenges their devotion to a particular way of life. However, I am left with the question of what happens to the immigrants who do not come to the Church. Is there any discrimination from religious Fuzhounese against secular Fuzhounese? Or between people of different regional backgrounds who are religious versus secular? He focused on the churches and religious congregations in Chinatown, but all of this analysis sort of left me with the impression that non-believing Christian immigrants are very out of place in Chinatown, kind of like the downtrodden minority. Guest never said that, but I just went there in my head. Maybe I should look up statistics about religiosity in Chinatown. But anyway, I really enjoyed the concluding chapter of the book. I found it the most concise, and I learned more than from any other chapters of the book as a result of its succinctness.